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About Everything Wiki » Life » How to tune in before going to a psychologist and get the most out of each session

How to tune in before going to a psychologist and get the most out of each session

19 Jan 2024, 12:00, parser
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We talk a lot about why it is worth seeking psychological help and how important it is to do it on time. But it is quite rare to discuss the "mystical" minutes that we spend together with a specialist in a personal meeting or via video link. Should we wait for leading questions? How much should we say before we get advice? What problems do we need to sort out — those that we encountered last week or in early childhood?

Of course, the session is managed by a psychologist, but we also have certain levers of control that allow us to get the most out of each meeting. Here are the accents that will help in this.

Think about what you need

There are different types of psychological help, and one will work better than the other depending on the person and their problem. For example, the cognitive behavioral approach helps to get rid of fears, false expectations and maladaptive thinking patterns, and EMDR therapy helps to deal with the consequences of psychological trauma. Therefore, before meeting with a specialist, it does not hurt to do a little research to understand which method might be suitable for you.

Before the session itself, think about how you feel right now, how you felt before and what you want to discuss with a psychologist. Write down your thoughts after the last visit and your experiences during the week before the next one to make sure that you don't forget to mention anything.

Keeping records in itself is good for mental health and helps to cope with stress or regulate mood. But it is also a useful tool to understand what you want to focus on when working with a specialist.

Prepare for the fact that the changes will take time

People who are just starting to go to a psychologist often think that he will solve their problem, and then send them to all four sides. And many people make a specific request, for example, to cope with divorce, job change, grief from loss, but eventually they begin to think more broadly and learn something about themselves that they did not expect at all.

A psychologist helps you analyze experiences, relationships, and problems without judging. It is not needed to tell you what to do, but to help you see the problem for what it is and deal with it in an effective and safe way for you. At the same time, the optimal period of work with a specialist for each case will be different, depending on what exactly the person is dealing with and how quickly it is necessary to sort everything out.

Ask yourself why you went to a psychologist in the first place

For example, the following questions will help you figure this out:

  • What do you want to get out of a session with a psychologist? What will be useful for you?
  • If you don't know what you want, will you trust a psychologist to guide you in the way he thinks is right?
  • Do you just need to talk it out, let off steam and talk about what's bothering you? Or are you ready to receive and analyze complex information to figure out how to deal with a difficult situation?
  • Do you want to learn more about yourself and how your body, brain, emotions, and relationships work and influence each other?
  • Do you want to learn how to take care of your mental health?
  • How have you dealt with adversity and problems in the past? What strategies have you learned earlier under the influence of your social environment and cultural environment?
  • How will you understand that consultations help you?

Working with a psychologist gives us a chance to unlock our potential and find the support that is already present in our lives and to which we can turn in difficult times. Often we have the answers to all our questions and we just need someone to point us in the right direction and lead us to them.

Be attentive during the session

There is no "golden rule" of how much you should talk and how much you should listen. This ratio will vary depending on your problem, the method and style of work of the psychologist. The most important thing is to tell the specialist directly about any of your needs.

That's why try to pay attention to your feelings during the session. If you need to take a break, ask for it. If you need to be heard or appreciated how you make sense of a certain situation, ask for it. Open communication with a psychologist will benefit you.

Take time to reflect after the session

Feel free to think about what worked and what didn't after each meeting with a psychologist, and honestly share what you really expect from the visits. You will need time and patience to feel comfortable and believe that a psychologist will be able to answer your request in a way that will benefit you.

Be prepared to apply methods that you have never heard of before and that you have never tried before. Everything that the specialist advises is aimed at helping you. But sometimes some things will be effective and some will not.

Evaluate whether a psychologist is suitable for you or not

Professional psychological assistance opens up opportunities for us to grow. Therefore, it is important to make sure that you get the most out of it, and for this you need to know the qualifications of your psychologist. Make it clear to yourself:

  • Does he have any experience with the issues that you came to consult with?
  • How did he help people with similar problems?
  • Does it take into account the peculiarities of your personality and the culture in which you grew up?
  • How does he react to the feedback he receives from you?
  • Does he listen to you and remember everything you say?
  • Is he not indifferent to your feelings and tries to support you?
  • Do you tell him about important things right away or wait for him to ask?

If the psychologist meets all your requirements, the main thing is to be patient. Sometimes it's not easy to understand whether going to a psychologist helps or not, because the point is not to talk about hard things and immediately feel better.

In order for communication with a psychologist to work, you also need to work and make efforts: to be vulnerable, to openly admit your injuries, to trust another person, to learn and put into practice new knowledge. Over time, you will feel a little better, you will begin to grow above yourself and you will be able to heal your wounds.

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